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Bone for carving
#1
I'd like to make a bone chape for my new akinakes scabbard, something like this: http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/dagger-chape

I understand I need a white knuckle end, but the ones I've found for sale (they are beef bone for dog treats) are roasted or baked. I understand bone for carving is often boiled to clean it, however I'd think dry heat would bring it to a much higher temperature. Would it then be too brittle for carving? I'm looking at products like these:
http://www.arcatapet.com/item.cfm?cat=41...PLA0104165
https://pawstruck.com/white-knuckle-dog-...7AodjB8AWQ
Dan D'Silva

Far beyond the rising sun
I ride the winds of fate
Prepared to go where my heart belongs,
Back to the past again.

--  Gamma Ray

Well, I'm tough, rough, ready and I'm able
To pick myself up from under this table...

--  Thin Lizzy

Join the Horde! - http://xerxesmillion.blogspot.com/
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#2
Dan... What you need to look for are hair line cracks. Often times you will not find them until you start carving the bone.

Getting a sterile bone is the best and safest way to go. They are clean, sterile and dried enough to work with.
It is a long process to do it your self. If you do it yourself, NEVER use bleach! Bleach will make the bone brittle and porous and actually destroy the bone's qualities and strength. You can twice boil the bone and flesh it. (Removing any meat or fat). Ones you do that you will want to degrease the bone by soaking it in a dish detergent and water mixture such as Dawn anti bacterial soap. This will pull the greases and the fats from the bone. It takes about a week. The bone can be dipped in 3% hydrogen peroxide to draw out and whiten the bone. I usually do that over night. Drying time is critical. This is when natural cracks that are in the bone will begin to surface if they are there! And if they are... well then... there goes all of that work you spent on prepping your own bone.

I try to get bones for my hilts that are totally dry and sterile bones.

If you have not worked with bone, it will quickly dull your tools. It is nasty to work with and you want a good thick HEPA dust mask. Bone is VERY ABRASIVE to the eyes, lungs and skin. Use caution when working with it.

There are ways to prep the bone after it is carved to help stop any future cracking and ways to work with cracks if they do happen. (Personal trade secrets) I will not post... but if you run into a problem... then contact me in a private message. --Patrick
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#3
Hi. Thanks for the advice. I had no idea it was that hazardous.

The problem with either fresh or sterile bone is that what I can find for sale always seems to be hollow sections, and I'm pretty sure this project requires a solid chunk. These dog chews are the only knuckle ends I can find for sale; those, and ones which are dried without being cleaned, and are greasy and brown. (I don't personally know any butchers who could provide a fresh one.)

If a useable knuckle isn't available, I could just use wood, but I thought bone would look best.
Dan D'Silva

Far beyond the rising sun
I ride the winds of fate
Prepared to go where my heart belongs,
Back to the past again.

--  Gamma Ray

Well, I'm tough, rough, ready and I'm able
To pick myself up from under this table...

--  Thin Lizzy

Join the Horde! - http://xerxesmillion.blogspot.com/
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#4
Patrick has some really good advice but I'll add to that that for degreasing the bone I like to soak them in white gas(aka Coleman fluid). It can take a week to a month but it works really well and is safe for the integrity of the bone. I would also suggest not to boil the bone. Soak it in hot water that is just under boiling say 98 degrees or so. A light simmer. A full boil can make the bone more brittle. I have heard some stories on carving sites where people have talked about accidentally doping a boiled bone and it shattering. I have dropped mine from chest height onto concrete and have not had that problem so it might be worth thinking about especially for a scabbard chap whose primary function is to protect the end of a scabbard.

I get my bones from the butcher and prepare them myself so I know absolutely how they have been prepared. Raw beef bones are soup bones and technically a food, so they are safe to simmer in the kitchen in your wife's prized cookware without her getting upset. I like to add a drop or two of soap in the water while it steeps since it degreases it a bit quicker but if you don't you get some really nice soup stock in the process.

One last thing to note. All bones are different and and this means that you can't always be sure how thick the bone will be when you buy it. That one bone that might look perfect for one project might not be. I like to get and prepare bones once every couple of months and always have some on hand to select from for and project that might come up. Try getting a prepared bone and making a few nailbinding needles and see if working with bone is something you might like to continue before you invest the time( a lot of time waiting and several bones before you find that perfect one for said project).

Just my 2 cents
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#5
I forgot to add a few more points.

Firstly, you need to cut the bone open before "boiling" . I normally cut the ends off to save the middle tube. This is so the fatty marrow can come out or it will leach into the bone structure and take forever to degrease.

Secondly, If you don't have an actual dedicated butcher shop in town, one of the supermarkets must have a butcher counter. Even if the butchers there only wrap the meat in plastic, they will have bones in the back. The largest, thickest of which is the shin bone.

Hope that helps.
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#6
Dan just have a talk with a butcher in your area is what I deed when needed bone (although I live in Germany) I am sure that you will be able to solve the problem, cattle farmers might be another source I heard they often butcher cattle for own use
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#7
The last one I worked with I just left it outside on the ants nest and let them strip off the flesh - they even degreased it. Then I cooked it briefly in hot, not boiling, water and it was ready for use. Agreed with Frank about all bones being different. It could take a while to get the right bone for the job. If you use sand paper or power tools then wear a mask. Inhaling powdered bone is hazardous.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#8
I'll get back on it on Monday, but I'm not terribly optimistic as far as grocery stores go. So far, the nearest store (a slightly more upscale one) doesn't do any on-site butchering and only sells marrow bones; same with the farmers market. There are a few farms that raise livestock for meat around here. (I do not know any farmers personally.)
Dan D'Silva

Far beyond the rising sun
I ride the winds of fate
Prepared to go where my heart belongs,
Back to the past again.

--  Gamma Ray

Well, I'm tough, rough, ready and I'm able
To pick myself up from under this table...

--  Thin Lizzy

Join the Horde! - http://xerxesmillion.blogspot.com/
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#9
Dan, PM sent
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#10
So, I've been talking to Dan with the PM function to see if I had some bone the size he might be able to work with but it seems like opening this discussion on this thread might get some better incite.

"
Hello,

Thanks for writing, and sorry it took me so long to write back.

I think that for this project, the size needed would be at least 2-1/4 inches/57mm long by 2-1/4 inches wide at the top by 1-1/4 inch/32mm thick. Those are slightly larger than the measurements of the temporary wood chape, hopefully including room for error. I understand this is an unusual requirement as far as bone carving goes.

Anyway, I appreciate the consideration.

-- Dan


Unfortunately, I can tell you there are no bones in a cow that thick. Not by a long shot. If you don't mind gluing four pieces together (similar to some methods of scabbard production) it might work. Re looking at the chap you might be able to the to get away with gluing two pieces of slightly triangular shape together which might get you that shape like the photo you posted but it will be hollow and not to thick for high relief carving.

I'll get some measurements on a picture for you in a day or two but the ends of the bone that might be the right height and with are only about 3/16 thick. The thickest part is only about a 1/2 inch thick but not more than an inch and a quarter in width.

I'll get back to you shortly.

-Frank


That's interesting. Looking back at the Louvre chape, it is apparently much smaller (and especially thinner, only 1 centimeter. Actually their site says 10cm but I'm preeetty sure that's a misprint) than one I'd need.

I think my akinakes has an unusually long blade, bulky hilt (wood rather than iron), and the scabbard wood (pine) is on the weak side, so my scabbard is larger and thicker than it should be and the chape would also be scaled up somewhat.

What's your opinion on using knuckle ends from leg bones? I was under the impression they would have less hollow space for marrow than the middle.

Thanks for your time.
-- Dan


__________
The ends of the bones is where the honey comb like structures are and for all my purposes have been un usable so I cut them off and throw them away. 1cm Thickness is a much more realistic thickness but a 1cm thickness along with the length and width you want are going to be tricky with cow bone. I have to admit however that the bones I use are from European cows which are normally quite a bit smaller than the various American breeds. I think the smaller European ones are a bit closer in size to the ones in antiquity but it does make some projects very difficult. Do you know for sure what kind of bone was used for the chape? There is a good chance that it might have been whale, or elephant both of whom have very large usable portions of bone but not permissible to purchase now a days. There may be other bones that can be used such a mammoth but it might be cost prohibitive for your purposes.


Do you mind if I copy this discussion to open it back up on your topic? Others might have better info than I do. I had just hoped that I might have a bit of bone to send to you but it looks like you will have to find another means to acquire some material for your project.

Frank

Well, now I'm not sure what to think. It seems sensible that if these things were commonly made from bone, then the usual source for them would be livestock or common game animals like deer (or maybe your enemies, if you happen to be a Skythian), but of course what seems sensible to me could be dead wrong. If it's that difficult to get a lump that big from those sources then I'd think a multi-piece assembly like you mentioned would be likely, but I haven't found mention of that.

To my knowledge, there have been two bone akinakes chapes found; the other finds are bronze, and integral ones on the wood scabbard from Egypt and the ivory one from Takht-i Sangin. The second bone example I've seen is here:

Unfortunately, the thickness is not given.

I certainly wouldn't mind you publishing this conversation. Thank you for your assistance.

Dan

"
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#11
Hello all,

I asked Frank to delete the auction site link in my last message. Here's the actual item. The only measurement they give is 1-5/8 inch/41mm wide.


Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
   
Dan D'Silva

Far beyond the rising sun
I ride the winds of fate
Prepared to go where my heart belongs,
Back to the past again.

--  Gamma Ray

Well, I'm tough, rough, ready and I'm able
To pick myself up from under this table...

--  Thin Lizzy

Join the Horde! - http://xerxesmillion.blogspot.com/
Reply
#12
Hi all,

I asked Frank to delete the auction site link in my last message. Here's the photo. The only measurement they give is that it is 1-5/8 inch/4.1cm wide.


Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
   
Dan D'Silva

Far beyond the rising sun
I ride the winds of fate
Prepared to go where my heart belongs,
Back to the past again.

--  Gamma Ray

Well, I'm tough, rough, ready and I'm able
To pick myself up from under this table...

--  Thin Lizzy

Join the Horde! - http://xerxesmillion.blogspot.com/
Reply


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